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Subject: US, China, India flex muscle over energy-critical sea lanes
Jawan    10/4/2006 11:12:17 PM by P. Parameswaran Wed Oct 4, 9:41 AM ET WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States, China and India are moving to assert control over the sea lanes through which they receive critical energy supplies amid fears in Beijing of a US blockade of the Malacca Strait in the event of a crisis over Taiwan, experts said. The United States at present has vast control over the major so-called "choke points" on the world's sea lanes, said experts at a recent forum in Washington. Almost all of China's energy imports are obtained through sea and it is worried the United States could hold its oil supply hostage. Beijing is also concerned over its gradually weakening position in the Indian Ocean as New Delhi develops new generations of weapons systems with US support. Moreover, China's naval modernization has focused largely on preparing for possible armed conflict over Taiwan than defending its very long sea lanes, experts said. While it may be difficult for the US navy to interrupt China's sea lanes, "these appear vulnerable" in the eyes of the Chinese military, said Bernard Cole of the US National War College. He said China's energy routes were most vulnerable not on the high seas, but at transit points through several narrow straits. They include Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the 9-Degree Channel in the Northern Indian ocean, Malacca and Luzon straits in Southeast Asia, and the Taiwan Strait, a possible battleground between China and the United States. "The most likely tactic for the United States to employ would be a blockade of Chinese oil port terminals, or of these choke points," Cole said. But should the United States attempt to interrupt the sea lanes, "it would almost certainly mean directly attacking China, directly attacking other nations, interfering with the peacetime passage of third-country tankers at sea, or all of the above," he warned. Chinese strategists have expressed fear in recent reports that in the event of a crisis between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan, the United States could blockade the Malacca Strait and hold 80 percent of Chinese energy imports hostage. As evidence of such a scenario, they pointed to Washington's so called regional maritime security initiative in the Malacca Strait as a first step by the US military to "garrison the Strait" under the guise of "counter-terrorist measures." Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade province awaiting reunification but any attack on the island could see a response from the United States, which is bound by law to help defend Taipei. "A focus of Chinese concern has been on the security -- or, more properly, the insecurity -- of the sea lines of communication upon which almost all of China's energy imports travel," said Daniel Blumenthal, a former senior Pentagon official eyeing China's growing military might. China's strategists, he said, were aware Beijing did not exercise naval superiority through the seas linking its ports to the major oil producers in the Middle East. They also know that China was dependent upon the United States and other major powers on ensuring the safe flow of its energy imports, he said. "If China truly does not trust the US and its allies to provide for the security of the SLOCs (sea lines of communication) and is too suspicious to join in common efforts over the long term, it must develop the military capabilities to challenge them," Blumenthal said. Some Western experts believe China is attempting to develop naval capabilities that would allow it to provide security for its oil shipments and project power into the Indian and Pacific oceans. The Pentagon has identified a so-called Chinese "string of pearls" strategy in which a network of bases along sea lanes is being set up. While pursuing this, China is suspicious the United States would use India, with its powerful navy, as a potential balancing force against it. The two democratic allies are already carrying out joint anti-terror patrols along the Malacca Strait, straddling Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. "The strategic consequences of IndiaÂ’s growing naval power are clear. Every additional barrel of oil that China imports leaves Beijing more vulnerable to a disruption of the sea lanes," said Christopher Griffin of the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington based think tank. "If Delhi's naval modernization effort turns the Indian Ocean into India's ocean, the risk for Beijing may grow unacceptable," he said.
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Nanheyangrouchuan       10/5/2006 6:51:13 PM
The US has been preparing for war on the high seas with Russia for 50 years.  China ought to fear the USN on the high seas much more than under littoral conditions.  The PLAN has neither the legs or the muscle to stop a single SSN from taking out china bound oil and LNG ships and their one PLAN submarine escort.

And Diego Garcia, along with longer legs on the IAF and two Indian aircraft carriers cuts the "string of pearls".

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Nanheyangrouchuan       10/5/2006 6:52:03 PM
India should consider a Naval base in Ethiopia or Madagascar to wrap up the Indian ocean.
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Herc the Merc    Nannu   10/5/2006 7:01:57 PM
India is already in Madagascar, the next China India naval rivalry is Maldives.
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yakeepi       10/5/2006 8:18:40 PM

I am pretty surprised that Indian's strategic thinking is so locked in the past, old theory.

In this world, is there anybody who dares to cut Chinese oil supplies, without risking a nuclear retaliation? Or who dares to cut Soviet sea routes in the past, even Soviet doesn't have a decent good-location ports?

Chinese won't waste resource on these nonsense. If India does that, they will attack Deihi, simple.
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HoundOfHello       10/5/2006 9:11:35 PM
China won't go nuclear if someone threatens their oil supply you silly Canadian. The CCP knows full well what will happen to them if they nuke any country, regardless of who it is. The world will respond in kind. Now go play hockey like a good Canadian, and stop fantasizing about Chinese global hegemony. Chinese belligerence is in your worst interest yak.


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yakeepi       10/5/2006 9:22:58 PM

Nobody has tried to cut Chinese oil supplies before, you can be the first, give a try.


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Jawan    That is why u have run to canada!!   10/5/2006 10:26:48 PM

Nobody has tried to cut Chinese oil supplies before, you can be the first, give a try.


It is so easy!!! but then fools like u don't run China do they!!! Some sanity still exists and the PLAN knows its limitations in the Indian Ocean.

PLAN wont be confident till their PORT in their vassal state (terrorist state of Pakistan) GWADAR is ready!!! Till then PLAN and Chinese Commies will just hope and pray that nobody cuts off their supplies. Oil is the reason that they are so close to the Iranians and now they are trying to get a whole lotta more oil from Russians.

As far as china hitting Delhi, lol, chinese commis should be  ready to get hit themselves, Beijing, shanghai, and all those fancy new shiny cities into rubble.

yea, right LOL:)) dumba&&
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yakeepi       10/5/2006 10:51:46 PM

As I said, nobody ever tried before, and not any chance India can do that.

Today the navy is used to expand the influence, not much used to protect sea route, no need.

Indian seems to have an obsolete mind.

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yakeepi       10/5/2006 10:54:50 PM

One example, in 1962 war with India, when Chinese troops marched toward Deihi, never India tried to cut Chinese supply lines - even China did have any navy in India Ocean.

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yakeepi       10/5/2006 10:55:39 PM

didn't have any navy in Indian Ocean.

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